Aledo scored three third-quarter touchdowns to turn a two-score game into a blowout as the Bearcats ran past the Burleson Elks, 57-21, Friday night in a District 5-5A, Division II game at Burleson ISD Stadium.
The win – Aledo’s 87th consecutive district victory and an ongoing state record – elevates the Bearcats’ district mark to 4-0 and 5-1 overall. The Elks (5-2) suffered their second district loss and fall to 3-2 in 5-5A.
“Burleson had a really good plan to go fast on offense in the first quarter,” Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said. “It got us on our heels a little bit, but our kids settled down and started playing better defense. The defense is getting better every week, and that’s what we need.”
With all-state tailback Jase McClellan still nursing an injury, Buchanan rotated starting cornerback Demarco Roberts and starting receiver Jo Jo Earle at tailback. The plan worked to perfection as Earle scored three rushing touchdowns and Roberts found the end zone on a long run.
Also, JV callup, tailback Jeremiah James, scored a pair of rushing TDs.
“Jo Jo and Demarco are two really good running backs,” Buchanan said. “And you throw Jeremiah James – another good running back that we called up from JV – and we have three capable running backs. Our offensive line blocked well, but as a team I would like to see us not have as many mental mistakes, particularly unsportsmanlike penalties and late hits. We don’t need to do that.”
Both teams began their respective first possessions with touchdown drives.
Burleson received the opening kickoff and used a quick offense for pass completions of 21 and 14 yards and followed with a 10-yard run to travel to the Aledo 30.
Quarterback Blake Myers sneaked up the middle for two yards on fourth and two from the AHS 4, and on the next play handed the ball to running back Caleb Lewis, who blasted over the goal line for a two-yard touchdown.
Edgar Zaragoza booted the extra point, and with 9:20 left in the opening quarter the Elks led 7-0.
The Bearcats answered on their first possession, moving the ball 67 yards on seven plays, scoring on a one-yard run by Jeremiah James. The big plays in the drive were a 15-yard pass from quarterback Jake Bishop to receiver Money Parks, and a 22-yard run by Jo Jo Earle.
Micco Little booted the extra point to tie the game, 7-7, with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
The Bearcats’ defense held the Elks as Burleson was forced to punt, and Aledo put together a nine-play, 58-yard touchdown drive that ended on a one-yard run by Earle, who lined up in shotgun formation and took a direct snap.
Bishop scrambled for 16 and 11 yards, respectively, to keep the drive going, and with 1:04 remaining in the opening period Little’s PAT gave Aledo a 14-7 lead.
Burleson used a big play to get the score even again. Quarterback Blake Myers raced 75 yards down the left sideline to bring the ball to the AHS 9. Two BHS holding penalties slowed the drive, but Myers connected with receiver Luke Peterson for a 14-yard touchdown with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
Zaragoza added the PAT to tie the game, 14-14.
The Bearcats next drive was also helped by a Bishop scramble as he sprinted 41 yards to the Elks’ 19. AHS was called for holding on the next play, and Demarco Roberts – who played on both offense and defense – scooted 15 yards from his tailback position to the BHS 20.
On the next play, Bishop fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Money Parks on the right side to give the Bearcats a 20-14 lead with 7:40 left in the half.
On the extra-point, holder Gatlin Johnson lifted the ball from the spot and pitched it behind his back to Nolan Garcia, who set up on the left side but came back to take the pitch and carried the ball down the right side, crashing over a pair of Elks at the goal line to complete the two-point conversion to give the ‘Cats a 22-14 lead.
The Bearcats’ defense came up with a turnover when cornerback Collin Johnson recovered a fumble that set up the next Aledo score.
Completing four passes on the drive – the fourth for 32 yards – Bishop drove the Bearcats to the BHS 6. Earle lined up in the wildcat formation again, and after taking a direct snap blasted off left tackle for six yards into the end zone with 32 ticks left on the first-half clock.
Little added the PAT kick to increase the Bearcats’ lead to 29-14, where it remained at the half.
The Bearcats put the game away with three touchdowns in the third quarter. The first was on a 39-yard run by Roberts, and the second another score by Earle from the wildcat formation, this time from two yards out. Little added both PATs as Aledo led 43-14.
Just before the third stanza ended, on third and 23 from the Elks’ 34, Bishop dumped a screen pass to Earle over the middle, and the shifty, speedy junior danced around a pair of defenders, skipped past another and turned on the jets and ran past three more defenders to compete a 34-yard TD play.
Little added the PAT to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 50-14 after three quarters.
Each team found the end zone in the fourth quarter. Aledo scored on a 14-yard run by James, and the Elks closed the scoring on a 44-yard TD pass from Myers to Luke Peterson as Aledo took a 57-21 victory.